So we begin with our douchebag hero Alex noticing a ginormous truck that is going out of control, which is loaded down with SYMBOLISM.
IT WAS THE PIRATE FLAG flying atop the plumbing truck that first caught his attention. The white skull and crossbones…
White PVC pipe rolled across the diamond plate of the truck bed, sounding like the sharp rattle of bones.
Yes, clearly this plumbing truck is LOADED WITH DEATH! Piratey DEATH! And that flag makes no sense when you consider what the drivers are planning ahead to do.
So even though the piratey truck of death is hurtling toward him at an out-of-control speed… Alex doesn’t seem that concerned. He’s too busy ogling the hot brunette standing next to him.
He didn’t even remember seeing where she’d come from. He thought that he saw just a hint of vapor rising from the sides of her arms into the chill air.
My first thought would be “holy crap, that woman is on fire,” since normally people don’t have vapor rising off their bodies.
Since he wasn’t able to see the woman’s face, Alex didn’t know if she saw the truck bearing down on them,
… run. You can run, you know. You don’t have to stand there contemplating the chick next to you. Just RUN.
but he found it difficult to believe that she wouldn’t at least hear the diesel engine roaring at full throttle.
RUN. Seriously, you can run now. There’s a truck coming at you. Now is the time to run.
So finally Alex figures out that DUUHHHHH maybe if a truck is coming at you full-speed, you should get outta there. So he grabs the woman and jumps back slightly, which causes massive truck o’ doom to miss them completely.
I gotta say that if you’re trying to murder somebody via vehicle, you might want to
- use more than one vehicle so they can’t step slightly back and be totally out of danger.
- use a vehicle with more maneuverability
- try doing it in a place where nobody else is around
- get a plan that doesn’t suck, like a “mugging” or “food poisoning”
I mean seriously, this was PLAN A?! Run them down in a crowded area with a truck? Which we discover a few minutes later has POLICE around?
Had Alex hesitated they both would have been dead.
But the world hates me, so they both live.
And what kind of person is riding in the giant truck-o’-doom? Why, it’s an unattractive, pockmarked, chubby man in a bad temper. Because pretty = good, and ugly = bad!
The man’s curly beard and thick mat of dark hair made him look like he really could have been a pirate. His eyes, peering out of narrow slits above plump, pockmarked cheeks, were filled with a kind of vulgar rage.
- Wow, I wonder if he’s a villain and not just some dude having a bad day. What other kind of person could have “narrow slit” eyes, a fat pockmarked face, and “vulgar” rage? Nobody! Just a villain!
- Wouldn’t it be awesome if the ugly, sinister-looking guy turned out to be a freedom fighter, and the hot woman turned out to be Fantasy Hitler?
- What, pray tell, is “vulgar” rage? Because Goodkind glorifies his Stu Richard Rahl who gets angry all the time, but apparently that’s refined, aristocratic rage.
The big man appeared infuriated that Alex and the woman would dare to be in the way of their off-road excursion. As the door popped open there was no doubt as to his combative intent.
… and no, this doesn’t seem odd to Alex at all. In my experience when people in any vehicle break traffic laws without actually hurting anybody, they get the hell out of there. They don’t get out so they can beat up pedestrians for NOT getting hit by their car. There’s no logical reason to.
Does Alex even realize that this whole situation is kind of strange, especially since the guy who is coming over to thrash them WASN’T EVEN DRIVING? Of course not. He’s too busy being manly.
He looked like a man stepping out of a nightmare.
“Oh no! An overweight man who has had chicken pox at one point wants to beat me up! This is my worst nightmare!”
Alex felt a cold wave of adrenaline flood through him as he mentally choreographed his moves.
Fun detail: Alex is an artist. I’m not saying artists can’t be good fighters, but we have no reason to think that he has Leet Kung-Fu Skillz.
The passenger, who seemed to be getting ready to leap out of the still-moving truck, would reach him before the driver could join in, making it one against one—at least for a brief time.
Whee! Let’s start a fun game, people! For every massive personal defect Goodkind gives his Stu, we check it off on the list. First:
I’m sure we’ll get plenty more!
Seriously, it is not one against one, Mr. Macho Manly Man. Have you just totally forgotten the woman next to you? Oh wait, I guess in Goodkind’s world, women cannot be any good in a fight unless they magically brainwash your enemies. For all we know, this woman is a blackbelt with a taser and pepper pray, but because she has a vagina she’s reduced to nothingness.
Alex couldn’t believe that it was happening, but it was and he knew that he was going to have to deal with it.
Calm fury filled him as he prepared himself for the unavoidable.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CALM FURY. If you’re calm, you’re not furious. If you’re furious, you’re not calm. There IS such a thing as being angry in a more controlled, reserved manner, but the term itself is HORSESHIT!
And yes, this is totally a thing that Richard Rahl is always doing. ALWAYS. And we’re about two pages into this book, and already Goodkind is pulling this out of his ass.
So Alex does his zen-esque pre-combat shit, the world slows down, the woman has vanished into the ether because we don’t hear anything about what SHE’S doing right now, and… I don’t know WHY Goodkind decided to make THIS lametastic scene the whole beginning of this book. I mean, do the bad guys figure that this won’t look suspicious? Because running off-road to mow down pedestrians and then BEATING THEM TO DEATH tends to get police attention! Who came up with this plan, trained monkeys?!
But alas, before Alex has a chance to prove his Manly Stu Combat Powahz, a cop car drives right up. Convenient for them, ain’t it?
The loudspeaker crackled to life. “Pull it over!”
“But officer! I was just about to beat down those pedestrians for daring not to be run over by my friend’s truck!”
“Oh, okay. Carry on then. Nothing suspicious.”
No, the cops arrest them, which allows Alex to remember, “Oh yeah, there’s a girl here. A girl with breasts and stuff.”
he found the woman’s gaze fixed on him. Her eyes were the luscious color of his finest sable artist brushes.
So… a very ordinary shade of brown.
I also love how he has to mention that they’re sable ARTIST brushes. I’ve never heard of sable brushes for any other kind of painting!
It was clearly evident to him that behind those sensuous brown eyes she appraised the world around her with an incisive intellect.
I. FUCKING. HATE. THIS.
I have shocking news for Mr. Goodkind, Ms. Meyer and every other fucking hack who writes this way: you cannot tell how smart someone is by looking at them. You cannot tell how morally good they are by looking at them. You cannot really tell ANYTHING about a person’s intellect just by looking at them unless you are fucking Sherlock Holmes. And I can tell you, no hero written by Terry Goodkind is Sherlock Holmes.
Alex is still clutching the woman’s arm for dear life, which sounds less like he was planning to protect her and more like he was wetting himself with fear. Unsurprisingly, she wants him to get the fuck off.
“Sorry,” he said, releasing her arm. “You were about to be run down by pirates.”
She said nothing.
I’d say nothing too. That’s a horrible pickup line.
So despite being an attractive successful man in his late twenties, Alex immediately turns into an awkward adolescent who can’t talk to girls.
“I’m sorry if I hurt your arm, but that truck would have hit you if I hadn’t pulled you back out of the way.”
“It matters to you?”
“Well, DUH. You’re hot. If you were an old bag lady, I’d totally have let it run you down.”
I’m having traumatic flashbacks to Wizard’s First Drool right now. I’d hate to spend time around Goodkind himself, because he seems to think that the most basic altruism is somehow speshul, snowflakey and only done by the most heroic of heroes.
Her voice was as captivating as her eyes.
It sounded like Yoda. Alex had always thought that little Muppet was hot.
So the woman dramatically announces that… BA-DUM! “Perhaps it wasn’t an accident.” Yeah, great job being unobtrusive. Just suggest loudly that somebody just tried to murder you. And since Alex has the brains of a parakeet, this confuses him.
Even lost in distant, dejected thoughts at the time, he had noticed that her body language hadn’t been quite right. Because he was an artist, a person’s balance, either at rest or in motion, stood out to him. There had been something out of the ordinary about the way she had been standing.
It might have been due to her third buttock.
Alex wasn’t sure if, by her answer, she was simply trying to do the same as he had been doing—trying to lighten the heart-pounding scare of what had nearly happened—
… I’m sorry, but how does suggesting that it was deliberate lighten the mood? That… has the exact opposite effect.
or if she was dismissing his chivalry as a presumptuous line.
- You mean it’s NOT a presumptuous line?
- Also, saying “Sorry, you were about to be run down by pirates” is not chivalry. It is a lame joke.
- And if you refer to yourself as chivalrous, chances are… you’re not.
The satiny black dress that hugged her curves looked to be either high fashion or oddly out of time and place—he couldn’t quite decide which—as did the long, deep green wrap draped over her shoulders. Her luxuriant fall of soft, summer-blond hair could have gone either way as well.
So according to THIS…
… apparently Goodkind’s idea of fashion is in line with Stephenie Meyer’s – “high fashion” or clothes from a more elegant time… equals a minidress and hooker boots. Also, apparently “luxuriant” means “dyed, permed and hairsprayed into immobility.”
So while Alex uses his astounding deductive abilities (which he gets from being an ARTIST), the police are arresting the drivers of the truck. And here’s a nice bit of class symbolism: the sexy woman in the couture clothing is “good” while the dirty working-class ugly men are “bad.” I’m sure that Goodkind would argue that anything else would be COMMUNISM.
However, we’re told that the cops aren’t gonna arrest the men who actively tried to run them down and then tried to issue a beatdown, because… I dunno. And the whole time, the driver and passenger are BLATANTLY GLARING at him with evilly evil eyes wot are evil. In fact, they’re SO evil that the cops, who are roughly the size of cave trolls, are spooked by them. Not kidding.
Alex saw the man’s dark eyes glaring right at him. They were the kind of eyes that seemed to be out of place in a civilized world.
Dude, we have a world where Florida and drug-addicted bath-salt zombies exist. “Civilized” is all relative.
Alex told himself that it had to be that in such a newly built, luxurious part of town the work-worn construction vehicles, despite there being a lot of them, all seemed to be out of place.
… so in an area that has just been built, which should still probably have construction going on… it seems OUT OF PLACE to have construction vehicles? You know, the vehicles carrying stuff to construction zones… like in newly-built areas? I actually live in a fairly newly-built area, and I can assure you that construction vehicles are so commonplace that I don’t even notice them anymore.
WAS THIS BOOK EVEN EDITED?
Then the man grinned at him.
It was as wicked a grin as Alex had ever seen.
It was a goofy, lopsided grin with a gold tooth and a slight twitch… OF EVIL!
As the black flag atop the truck lifted in a gust of wind, the skull also gave Alex a grim grin.
“Would you allow me to escort you safely across the street?” he asked in a tone of exaggerated gallantry.
What, no lame lines about saving her from pirates? That would be REAL chivalry.
For the first time she smiled. It wasn’t a broad grin, or a smile that threatened to break into laughter, but rather a simple, modest curve of her lips saying that this time she got the lighthearted nature of his words.
Thank God, no talking about how how close-lipped “I can’t believe this idiot is talking to me” forced smiles are the best kind.
But you know, this book is starting to feel awfully familiar… almost like Goodkind is remixing Wizard’s Worst Drool into an urban fantasy. But that certainly isn’t possible. Amirite? Right? RIGHT?
Still, it seemed to make the world suddenly beautiful on what was otherwise a rather depressing day for him.
WHAT’S DEPRESSING? You haven’t shown us anything more depressing than nasty drivers!